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Governance &
Structure Division

Terms & Concepts in the Community Charter: Broad Powers


Section 8 of the Community Charter provides various types of broad, or fundamental, powers.

  • Section 8(1) provides the broad corporate power needed by a municipality to manage its organization. Natural person powers confer upon a municipality the capacity, rights, authorities and privileges of a natural person, including such things as making contracts, buying and selling property and providing assistance.
  • Section 8(2) grants broad service powers to a municipality. A municipality may provide "any service that the council considers necessary or desirable." The way in which a service is provided is also a decision that the municipality is empowered to make (i.e. it can be provided directly by the municipality or through another person or organization).
  • Section 8(3)-(6) provides a municipality with the broad regulatory powers needed to regulate activities that take place within the community. A council has the authority under these sections to regulate and/or prohibit and/or impose requirements in relation to the services provided by the municipality, and in relation to activities in a wide variety of “regulatory spheres” (e.g. trees; public places; specified disturbances). Most of these regulatory spheres are autonomous; five of them, or aspects of them, are "concurrent" (require provincial involvement before they are exercised).

Below is an outline of how the broad regulatory powers apply to the regulatory spheres.

The 13 spheres are:

  1. municipal services
  2. public places
  3. trees
  4. firecrackers, fireworks and explosives
  5. bows, arrows, knives and other weapons
  6. cemeteries and crematoriums
  7. health, safety or protection of persons in relation to specified matters
  8. protection of the well-being of the community in relation to specified nuisance and disturbance matters
  9. public health
  10. protection of the natural environment
  11. animals, including wildlife
  12. buildings and other structures
  13. removal or deposit of soil

The broad powers conferred on municipalities are not absolute; specific limitations are identified in subsequent sections of the Community Charter, in particular the sections contained in Part 3. As well, other parts of the Community Charter and other legislation may limit broad powers. Even with these limitations, however, the broad powers are considerable. They give effect to the Community Charter's core vision which is based firmly on the belief that municipal councils should have the authority they need to make local decisions locally and thereby best serve the interests of their communities.

Please direct questions or comments to Advisory Services Branch.

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